The volcanic eruption in Iceland interrupted the weekend plans of thousands of travelers last week, stranding many students from Miami University’s Dolibois European Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg both in and out of the country.
Beginning April 14, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and sent an ash cloud thousands of feet into the atmosphere, effectively shutting down all air travel throughout Great Britian, Ireland and most of Western Europe.
As of Tuesday, April 20, airlines in Europe were slowly beginning to re-fly, but the five days of downtime heavily impacted the industry, with economic losses reaching $1 billion, according to Yahoo! News.
Among the thousands of travelers affected were dozens of students from MUDEC, most of whom had their weekend plans canceled before they even began. The ash delays also left 14 students stranded where they had already left to earlier in the week.
“We left Wednesday morning to fly to Oslo (Norway), and from there we were supposed to fly to Copenhagen (Denmark) Friday and fly back to Lux Sunday,” Heather Boddy, a Miami sophomore, said. When the volcano erupted Wednesday afternoon, Boddy found herself stuck in Oslo for an indeterminate amount of time.
“We went shopping, walked along the coast, took mini-cruises, ate at nice restaurants and rode the trams,” Boddy said. “It was really fun but I did want to come home.”
To get home, Boddy and the student traveling with her, Miami sophomore Amelia Kinsella, had to wait for spots on a ferry from Oslo to Copenhagen to open up.
“We had no knowledge of how we would get back to Luxembourg from Copenhagen,” Boddy said.
The trip back to their host family’s house in Differdange, Luxembourg involved a 14-hour train ride, putting them into Differdange at 9 a.m. April 20. The volcano caused them to stay in Oslo for an extra three days.
Only a handful of students were actually stranded out of the country over the weekend because most students’ flights were not scheduled to leave until Friday afternoon, and all flights had been canceled by then.
Junior Emma Leedy, a student from University of Central Florida studying at MUDEC, said her flight was canceled before she could travel out of Luxembourg.
“I was planning on going to Warsaw but my flight was cancelled,” Leedy said.
Students who found themselves with an extra weekend in Luxembourg attempted to make the best of the situation.
“It was our first weekend staying in Luxembourg, and it was actually a really good experience,” Leedy said. “We ended up hanging out with friends in the Gründ (a bar area of Luxembourg) Friday night and then Saturday we made mimosas and laid out in a pasture and ate chocolate. It was really nice.”
Leedy’s experience staying in the country echoes that of many students who had a similarly relaxing weekend in Luxembourg.
Boddy was pessimistic about being stranded in Oslo and how the long trip back had affected her travel plans for the rest of the semester.
“I am broke now so I will not be traveling anywhere until I am home,” Boddy said.
Students remained stuck in Spain and Ireland until April 22.